Customer Service Tip of the Week

Know the Customer’s Value Proposition - 2/12/19


I’ve written about how it’s important to build up your co-workers when talking to customers. When the nurse is getting ready to send the patient down to radiology, she lets the patient know what great work and great care that the radiology tech provides. When the teller contacts a Read more

Paint a Picture, Take a Picture - 2/5/19


Many of us are visual learners. In order for us to understand the concept, we need to be able to see the concept illustrated. And by seeing the concept illustrated, I’m not just talking about taking something that somebody says and merely typing it into an email. I don’t Read more

Recipe for Reputation Rehab - 1/29/19


As another corporation is trying to recover from self-inflicted reputation wounds, it is seeking to get back in the good graces of consumers. It’s laying out a 6-point plan to improve its performance, but – in the end – publicizing this plan is also about rehabilitating its reputation. Read more

Don’t Dwell on the Customer Crazies - 1/22/19


Whether or not you’re a fan of Duke University basketball, you may have heard of the “Cameron Crazies.” This is a nickname for Duke fans that attend home games in Duke’s Cameron Indoor Stadium. One of my friends was one of those Cameron Crazies. He was Read more

Retain through Responsiveness - 1/15/19


In a recent Bloomberg article about online retailers, there’s a story about a women’s cosmetics customer who used an online app to order some items. She waited weeks for the delivery after it was shipped to the wrong address, and she had great difficulty in getting the issue resolved. Read more

Bring Something Extra to the Table - 1/8/19


As somebody who has customer service as a part of their role and responsibilities, you are often talking to customers who could access the answers to their questions or the solutions to their problems via a website or some social media resource. But instead of going to those communication Read more

How to Have a Truly HAPPY New Year - 1/1/19


Don’t worry. After today, I will get away from my holiday-themed tips, but for now, let me ask you a question. What would be a good way to have a truly HAPPY New Year? Is it lowering expectations so that everything exceeds your expectations? Is Read more

2018 Holiday Poem - 12/25/18


Annually I write a note at this time of year, And the goal not once but every time is to bring you some cheer. I try to encourage, And I work to state the truth Because as we continue to grow more “wise,” We can’t lose sight of the joys of youth. So this year Read more

Be SomeBODY to Your Customer - 12/18/18


Jenny lives on a farm, and she's often running errands to get things for the animals or the family. She goes to one particular store to get her hay, and she always chit-chats with the person at the register. Marie is always friendly and cordial, and Jenny always buys Read more

A Representative Success! - 12/11/18


I was in a meeting recently with a client, and it was interesting to chat with one of their best customer service representatives. This is an employee who works with the same business clients every month, and when she described what she does, best practices started flowing. She knows her Read more

Take Away Their Worry – 8/7/18

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One summer, Janet was given a new chore. She had to take out the trash and recycle bins to the street every Tuesday night so that they could be picked up Wednesday morning. She would go out around 7 or 8 o’clock at night, take the bins out, and come back inside. As summer was about to end, it began getting dark earlier, so Janet began putting the bins out earlier.

Janet was worrying about things. She kept hearing noises and didn’t know what they were, so she decided to at least avoid the darkness when putting out the bins. Her dad asked why she kept going out earlier, and when she explained, he said that the noises were probably some small animals, and she shouldn’t be afraid.

The next week she went out a little later – when it was a little bit darker – and she heard some noises and ran back inside. Her dad asked what was wrong, and when she explained about the noises again, he got out his flashlight, and they walked out together. They heard a noise, he pointed the flashlight in that direction, and it was a squirrel. They walked a few feet and heard another noise, and the flashlight revealed a bunny on some leaves. It was a windy day, and after another noise, the light showed a small branch that had fallen.

What the dad had said a week earlier had been proven true. Janet continued her chore, and she did so at night – and she usually went out with a flashlight.

For our customers, similar to Janet, sometimes things are scary. It could be that patient’s unexpected visit to an urgent care, or possibly that a sports fan was about to make a big payment on season tickets. Maybe that resident was not used to dealing with the government on the tax issue.

If we can tell them what they’re going to experience, it can make them less worried. Better yet, it we can SHOW THEM what’s going to happen – being that flashlight – noting all the steps they could be experiencing through the process, they become even more comfortable.

When you are interacting with a customer on something that may create worry or anxiety, do what Janet’s dad did for her. Patiently describe what the experience will be like; shine the light on the path they’ll be going down to bring down their emotions.

Take away their worry.

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Unleash Your Persuasiveness – 7/31/18

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Sometimes the facts are not enough. The customer is irate, or they don’t like the alternative you’re suggesting. You need them to do something, and they want you to do it. They need to do options A or B, and they want to select imaginary option Z.

You need to persuade them so that the right choice or a reasonable choice or the best choice for them is the one they select. So how do you unleash your persuasiveness?

Here are four (4) key points of consideration:

  • Identify what’s in it for them, or how it would benefit them. Then reference this in the conversation. The customer is more easily persuaded to take a certain action if they understand the benefit to them of taking that action. Instead of purely understanding what needs to be done and understanding why it’s beneficial to you or your organization, use a little empathy to understand what’s in it for them.
  • Model positive behaviors – nods, eye contact, smiles. Persuasion is not just about the words you use. Persuasion is something where they are feeling the positive energy associated with the option you’re promoting. They feel the confidence that you have not only in what you say but how you’re saying it. They feel a level of sincerity in the message you’re sending. You do this with your body language and tone of voice as much as you do it with your words.
  • Build their confidence by sharing successful experiences in a simple/relatable way. Let them know you’ve done this successfully with others. Oftentimes, customers come into situations with one solution in mind, and if that solution is not the one you’re suggesting, they need to be able to envision a successful outcome clearly like they’ve already envisioned that outcome using their own solution. So talk about other customers that have successfully utilized this option; talk about clients similar to them where this has worked well. Keep it simple, and make sure they can relate to the examples of success you provide.
  • Uncover their concerns with the potential solution/alternative. In the end, what you’re really doing is overcoming their fears and concerns about the option that you’re providing. So ask them why they would prefer a certain option. Ask them what in particular is causing them to hesitate about selecting a particular alternative. The more you can uncover the specific concerns, the better you can address them.

 

Unleash your innate persuasiveness!

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Vive La Différence! – 7/24/18

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Even though my last name is French, I don’t speak French. So despite this Tip’s title, this Tip will definitely be written in English. This Tip is about understanding differences and benefiting from those differences. Here are some scenarios for you to consider…

There’s a difference between walking to a customer in a waiting room and sitting in the chair next to them to give them an update as opposed to hovering over them as you share the information.

There’s a difference in making eye contact with a customer waiting in line, smiling, and saying “Yes, I’d be happy to help you now” as opposed to yelling out “Next!” while your head is looking down at the computer.

There’s a difference between standing up and coming around to the side of the counter to engage the customer versus remaining in your chair and waiting for them to ask for help.

There’s a difference between walking up to somebody who enters a room and extending your hand to shake theirs as opposed to remaining where you are with your arms crossed or your eyes fixed on your phone.

There’s a difference between turning your computer monitor so the customer can see what you’re doing and pointing out items on the screen versus just staring at it intently on your own while your customer waits for you to ask the next question.

There’s a difference between an employee pulling up information on their phone or laptop and showing you the pricing or the inventory or the product specs versus the employee finding the information and simply telling you.

These are all examples of differences in employee behavior in face-to-face situations. Whereas the answer or the product or the service or the solution may oftentimes be the same, the first example in each one of these scenarios results in a far more positive customer experience. Those first examples show more engaged employees, more pleasant environments, more proactive actions, and more customer-focused approaches.

When you’re thinking about how to handle certain situations, share information, or make that great first impression, remember there’s more than one way to handle that encounter.

Vive La Différence!

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